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SD@LAD: Stults hits first career homer for early lead

Left-hander Eric Stults has been the Padres' most dependable and successful starting pitcher so far this season.

And not just with his arm, but his bat, too.

Tossing at least five innings in all three of his starts, Stults (2-1, 3.94 ERA) caught everyone by surprise in his last outing against the Dodgers when he belted a three-run home run that proved to be the difference in a 6-3 win.

Stults hit 23 home runs in three seasons as a center fielder for Bethel College in Indiana and is a career .232 hitter with one home run, five doubles and 10 RBIs during parts of seven Major League seasons.

"It's exciting for a pitcher to hit a home run, but it was nice that it gave us a jolt offensively to help us win the game," Stults said after the contest. "It was exciting to be a part of that."

He'll look to keep up the hot hitting and pitching come Sunday against the Giants at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park.

Meanwhile, Barry Zito will be on the hill for the Giants, ready to bounce back after a frustrating loss to the Brewers on Tuesday.

The left-hander was touched up for nine runs on eight hits in just 2 2/3 innings, marking his first loss in more than eight months.

Zito had gone 13 regular season starts without a defeat, while the Giants had won each of his previous 16 starts, including the postseason.

"It's just important to put the past in the past and come out and not take anything for granted," Zito said. "Each day is a new day. That's something I pride myself on, going out tomorrow and fighting and grinding."

Padres: Ross sent to DL
Right-handed starting pitcher Tyson Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday (retroactive to Thursday) with an injury to his left shoulder that he sustained while hitting against the Dodgers on Wednesday.

"The soreness has to decrease, and there's a strengthening component to this," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We've got to make sure he can swing the bat and have confidence that he can field his position."

The Padres recalled right-handed pitcher Thad Weber to replace Ross on the roster. Weber appeared in one game with the Padres on April 13, allowing two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings of relief. Weber was 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts in Triple-A.

Giants: Affeldt to return at end of month
Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt should be able to rejoin the Giants when he's eligible to return from the disabled list on April 30, manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday.

"I think he can be ready in 15 days," Bochy said of Affeldt, who's sidelined with a strained right oblique. "He seems like he's making a lot of improvement. I'll be honest: I'll be surprised if it takes longer than 15."

• Bochy also said on Saturday that he hopes Buster Posey can increase his catching workload this season. Posey started his 14th game as a catcher Saturday against San Diego.

"I think when it's all said and done -- knock on wood, he stays healthy -- you'll see he'll catch more games this year," Bochy said. "But at the same time, we want to keep him fresh and take care of him."

Worth noting
• Giants outfielder Angel Pagan leads the National League with five game-winning RBIs this season.

• Giants starters have logged just nine quality starts in 18 games this season. Comments